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“Abrazo Ceremony” on the Juárez-Lincoln International Bridge

On Feb. 20, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson traveled to Laredo, Texas, where he participated in an International Bridge Ceremony, also known as the “Abrazo Ceremony,” on the Juárez-Lincoln International Bridge. The ceremony was followed by a parade and is part of a 119-year-old tradition honoring George Washington’s Birthday.

Secretary Jeh Johnson and Jose Antonio Meade, the Mexican Secretary for Social Development, at the International Bridge Ceremony

Secretary Johnson walks with others at the International Bridge Ceremony

As part of the ceremony, two children from the U.S. side and two children from the Mexican side meet midway across the Lincoln-Juarez bridge and hug. A parade followed the official ceremony.

Secretary Jeh Johnson greets children during parade

Secretary Jeh Johnson greets children during parade

During the International Bridge Ceremony parade, a child runs up to greet Secretary Jeh Johnson.

During the International Bridge Ceremony parade, Secretary Johnson greets a small child.

Secretary Johnson spoke about the importance of continued cooperation between the United States and Mexico to promote lawful trade and travel between our two nations.

Secretary Jeh Johnson speaks at the International Bridge Ceremony.

“What is a bridge? ¿Que es un puente? It is a structure to connect two lands. It is a structure to enable people and things to cross from one land to the other. It is a structure that enables commerce, relationships and friendships. It enables the people of one land to know the other. Build bridges and we build friendships. This bridge and this ceremony are both a real and symbolic sign of the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and the people of Mexico.”

“We are building more bridges between the United States and Mexico. We are building bigger, wider and stronger bridges… the ceremony that occurs on this spot very year, is the symbolic and real nature of our relationship, our friendship, and our respect for each other.”

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